Management, Org Templates

Job Descriptions or Position Descriptions? What's the Difference?

By: Functionly

Whatever you like to call them - job descriptions, JDs, position descriptions, job specs - in a business, we can't live without them. But why do they have so many different names and what do they all mean, anyway? And, most of all, does anyone actually enjoy writing them?!

Let's get to the bottom of it.

Difference between job description and position description

It's pretty typical for the terms job description and position description (and other variations) to all be used interchangeably. That is, despite what someone calls it, they are all generally referring to the same thing.

However, despite their interchangeable use, you could technically argue that there is a distinct difference between the two:

A job description is a document that describes the responsibilities and duties of a particular role. A position description, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive document that additionally describes the qualifications and skills required for a particular role.

In other words, a job description is more focused on the "what" of the role, while a position description is more focused on the "how." As such, a job description might typically be used internally as a reference for what specific roles do, while a position description is typically used in a job posting when hiring talent.

In the context of this post, we're going to use the terms interchangeably to essentially mean a document you'd use to describe a job's responsibilities and the requirements required to fulfil and be successful in the role - essentially the details you'd use in a job posting.

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How to write a clear and concise job position description

A job position description is a document that outlines the key duties, responsibilities, skills, and qualifications for a role. By clearly articulating what is expected of employees, businesses can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that performance expectations are met. When writing a job position description, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible. Here are five typical sections you'd include:

1. Start with a brief overview of the company, including its mission and values.

2. Clearly state the title of the position and the primary responsibilities.

3. Outline the required qualifications, such as education, experience, and skills.

4. Highlight any preferred qualifications that would be a plus for candidates, but not essential.

5. Include a link to the online application or contact information for questions.

The benefits of writing a job description

Although often seen as a tedious task, taking the time to write a clear and accurate job description can actually be very beneficial.

For hiring managers, a well-written job description can help to attract qualified candidates and ensure that employees understand their roles and expectations. Additionally, having a detailed job description can also help to resolve disputes and clarify expectations for performance reviews.

For employees, a job description can provide valuable insights into the expectations of the role and the skills and experience that are required.

In short, whether you are an employer or an employee, taking the time to develop a strong job description can be extremely beneficial.

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Examples of good job descriptions

A good job description should provide an overview of the position and its responsibilities, as well as the qualifications and skills required. It should also be clear and concise, so that potential candidates can easily understand what the role entails.

Here's an example of a well-written job description (courtesy of LinkedIn Talent Solutions hiring guides):

Sample account executive job description

At [Company X], we thrive when our people thrive. To put our products and solutions into the hands of consumers worldwide, we need a professional who knows how to connect. We are currently looking for an account executive to be the leading force that fuels our growing client relationships in the North American market. The ideal person will have proven experience building on existing relationships, eliminating competitor threats within our customer base, and ensuring customer satisfaction. The account executive will be a proactive and curious member of our sales team, identifying growth opportunities for clients before a need or gap has been stated. This level of foresight and meticulous analysis is what will take our company confidently into the future.

Objectives of this role

  • Build and maintain lasting relationships with clients and partners by understanding their focus and anticipating their needs
  • Coordinate internal and external resources to expedite workflow
  • Manage communications between upper management and employees
  • Stay current with company offerings and industry trends
  • Oversee and achieve organizational goals while upholding best practices

Responsibilities

  • Solve problems for clients by understanding and exceeding their expectations
  • Illustrate the value of products and services to create growth opportunities; compile and analyze data to identify trends
  • Participate in brainstorming, office activities, staff meetings, and client meetings; research and assist with program development for existing clients and new prospects
  • Perform prospecting activities such as cold calling and networking
  • Follow up with clients regularly to ensure needs are being met and to identify opportunities
  • Maintain a database of clients, prospects, partners, and vendors

Required skills and qualifications

  • Four years of experience in administrative role reporting directly to upper management
  • Ability to manage multiple accounts while seeking new opportunities
  • Ability to understand client needs and negotiate costs and services
  • Proficiency with CRM software and an aptitude for learning new systems
  • Willingness to travel as needed to meet with clients and prospects

Preferred skills and qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in business or related discipline
  • Proficiency using more than one language
  • Experience overseeing budgets and expenses
  • Experience developing internal processes and filing systems

Job description template and examples

Now that you understand the difference between a job description and position description, as well as the benefits of writing a clear and concise job description, you probably want to get on with creating one. To help get you started, we’ve collected a list of great job description example resources in this article.

Also need a job description position template? We've got you covered! Download our free Word document that includes all the information from above. Go on, download this Word doc template from here.

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And remember, Functionly is used by many companies to create role templates from our extensive function and responsibility library and easily export job position description documents. Sign up now for free and start creating awesome job descriptions that will attract top talent to your business.

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